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Liya Kebede: Fighting for maternal health

Tigrai Online
April. 09 2011

Members of Ethiopian ‘online jury’!

According to Save the Children one in three women have no professional assistance during childbirth.

While the more fortunate are aided by traditional attendants many are alone during delivery putting them and their babies at grave risk.

On Monday's Riz Khan we speak with international supermodel, actress and goodwill ambassador Liya Kebede about her work to help all mothers gain access to medical treatment.

In the age of modern medicine, why do so many mothers and newborns continue to go without proper care?

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Liya moved to Paris at the age of 18. Her modeling career took off as a year later she debuted at the spring Ralph Lauren and BCBG Max Azria shows, and was also personally selected by Tom Ford for an exclusive contract for the Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. She gained still more attention as the entire May 2002 edition of Paris Vogue was dedicated to her.

Kebede has been seen on the covers of Italian, Japanese, American, French and Spanish Vogue, V, Flair, i-D and Time's Style & Design, and has been featured in ad campaigns including those for Gap, Yves Saint-Laurent, Victoria's Secret, Emanuel Ungaro, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon, Dolce & Gabbana, Escada and Louis Vuitton.

In 2003, she made history becoming the first ever black model to represent cosmetic company Estee Lauder. She is also an activist, serving as the Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health for the World Health Organization. She has two children with husband Kassy Kebede.